|“|| It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real.
Maria is a major character in Silent Hill 2, meeting James Sunderland in Rosewater Park and staying with him sporadically after that. She is nearly identical to James's late wife, Mary, in almost every physical aspect, although her appearance and personality are more sexually extroverted. Maria is a very enigmatic character and could be seen as some sort of reincarnation or ghostly form of Mary, as a supernatural, and possibly sinister creature of unknown origin, or some combination of these. At times, she seems to possess Mary's memories.
James is both attracted to Maria and fearful of what she might represent, and so he struggles to understand her. Maria appears to be a manifestation created by James's desperation to see Mary again, an idea supported by the title of Maria's scenario, Born from a Wish. Born from a Wish suggests that, in the beginning, even Maria isn't really sure what or who she really is, but by the time she first encounters James, she is beginning to "remember" him. Since the title is called Born from a Wish, many people assume that Maria is one of James's wishes, since Mary wasn't everything James wanted.
The booklet accompanying the game describes her as the opposite of Mary, "cheerful and energetic", but she is also a rather dark and moody character. Her personality is highly unpredictable; sometimes she is fearful and clingy, but she sometimes speaks tenderly to James, and at other times she is more teasing or even cruel.
She seems to have Mary's personality and memories, given that she is a representation/illusion of Mary. This behavior is exhibited in the Labyrinth jail cell, for example; she cycles from Mary's sweet, soft tone and even her memories to Maria's more seductive tone. She seems consistently concerned about Laura, a little girl who is strongly connected to Mary.
Due to some of her behavior and her attempts to make James accept her, even going to the extreme of trying to kill him when he refuses her, she can be considered a main antagonist of the story, as she tries to "trap" James into his past, refusing to let him go. Despite her actions, Maria is not a truly evil character.
Silent Hill 2
Born from a Wish
The Born from a Wish scenario serves as Maria's introduction in the Silent Hill universe, although this prequel game was created after Silent Hill 2's release. The Maria seen in Born from a Wish is much less sassy and confident than in the main game, and it is suggested that she has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there, furthering the ambiguity of her origins. It is also learned that Silent Hill is Maria's birth town, indicating that Maria had either lived in Silent Hill before or this is just where she was created from James's wish. Maria was produced by James's delusions as a result of his inability to bear the weight of the crime of killing his wife. It is established in Silent Hill 3 that her model is a dancer at the club "Heaven's Night".
In the beginning, Maria wakes up alone and frightened in Heaven's Night. After pondering to herself about what she should do, she eventually decides to try and find someone else in the town. She begins to wander through the streets of South Vale until she eventually enters the Baldwin Mansion, an area out of bounds in the main game. Here, she meets the owner of the mansion, Ernest Baldwin, although she never actually sees him; all their conversations are shared between locked doors. Ernest speaks in a strange monotone, and asks her to find him the "white liquid" in the Blue Creek Apartments to help him bring back his dead daughter, Amy. Maria helps him with this, even though it may not work, stating, "I don't mind fighting for an impossible cause."
While she's exploring the house, she finds a teddy bear in a child's room. She comments that Laura would love that toy, suggesting she has Mary's memories. After Maria brings back the white liquid to Ernest, he reveals slightly more about her. Maria tells Ernest she doesn't really believe in "Fate" and he warns her that James is a bad man, and that he's looking for "the you that isn't you". This seems to stir something in Maria, who begins to remember things about James — that he wasn't good to his wife during her illness and killed her. But she also remembers that underneath, James is a kind person. Maria then opens the door, but the room where Ernest is in is empty. She leaves the Baldwin Mansion and enters the alley behind the Blue Creek Apartments. She briefly considers suicide, but refrains and tosses her gun over a wall. She decides to follow her fate, hoping that James will accept her as she is.
Letter from Silent Heaven
Some ways into the main game, Maria's story begins (or resumes, following the prequel scenario) when James Sunderland stumbles across her in Rosewater Park; seeing her in the fog, he mistakes her for Mary. He is taken aback by how much she resembles Mary, and her response is seductive and somewhat mocking. As James is about to leave, she then turns clingy, pointing out that there are monsters everywhere and asking if she can stay with him, to which he reluctantly agrees. James and Maria eventually make their way to Pete's Bowl-O-Rama. James enters but Maria stays behind, her excuse being that she "hates bowling". When James returns minutes later, Maria says that she saw Laura run out of the building and insists that James help look for her.
Eventually they follow Laura to Brookhaven Hospital. They explore the hospital together, however, Maria suddenly becomes sick. James tells her to rest and leaves her in one of the hospital rooms. If the player checks on her she will still be there, albeit looking very unwell. Later on, when James traverses into the Otherworld version of the hospital, Maria is nowhere to be found, but several empty medicine bottles are nearby. Fortunately, Maria bumps into James in the hospital's basement but grows angry at James's lack of concern towards her, and his devotion to Mary. Their time together is short-lived, as while running through the hospital's basement, Maria is killed by Pyramid Head in front of James.
While exploring the Labyrinth, James stumbles upon Maria, locked in a cell. She confuses James by talking to him in a very peculiar manner and behaving in a way similar to Mary's personality, especially when she mentions a videotape in the Lakeview Hotel. She then reverts back to her old self and tries to seduce James, hinting sexual favors if he gets her out of the cell. Desperate and confused, James promises to return once he's found a way to rescue her from the cell, but when he does finally return, Maria is dead again; she appears to have been beaten to death. James takes a moment to mourn Maria's death before eventually leaving.
Towards the end of the game, James finds Maria alive again, this time strung up and being tortured by two Pyramid Heads. Maria calls out for James to help, but he can only watch as one of the Pyramid Heads impales Maria in front of him with its spear. He realizes that Pyramid Head keeps killing Maria to remind him of his crime and to punish him for murdering Mary. James fights the two Pyramid Heads and they realize that they cannot defeat him; they kill themselves as they are no longer needed - James finally understands his sin.
There are two different outcomes for Maria, depending on what ending the player receives. They are as follows:
In the In Water, Leave and Rebirth endings: When James goes up to the platform at the end, Maria is there, although she disguises herself as Mary, as a final, desperate attempt to make him stay with her. However, James tells her he no longer needs her, as she could never substitute the true love he shared with Mary. Angered by this, she transforms into the final boss and tries to kill James, but ends up being defeated. Maria crashes to the floor and whispers his name, until James finally kills her for good.
In the Maria ending, when James goes up to the platform at the end, Mary appears instead of Maria. She tells him that James killed her because she was a burden to him, and he admits that it's the truth. Mary tells James she will never forgive him for what he did and transforms into the final boss. After she is defeated, James is looking out onto the lake from Rosewater Park, where he first met Maria. Here, he reunites with Maria, who is once again alive and well and they leave Silent Hill. As they leave the town, however, Maria starts coughing, implying she has the same illness Mary had suffered from, and that the events that drove James to murder may repeat themselves.
Interestingly, which ending the player gets is based on subtle aspects of how Maria is treated during the game. If the player protects her well from monsters and visits her frequently while she is feeling sick at the hospital, they are more likely to get the "Maria" ending.
Insight on Maria
Maria frequently reminds James that she's "real". When they first meet, she states "I don't look like a ghost, do I? See, feel how warm I am!" and later, "It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real." This is open to many interpretations, including that Maria is solely meant for James himself, as he (besides Ernest, who was hinted at as being a ghost) is the only person she encounters. This is most likely the reason she stays outside of the bowling alley, avoiding Eddie and Laura. Maria is never present whenever James encounters another human; she is aware of Laura and claims to have seen her, but the two characters are never seen together.
Her isolation from the other characters enhances her phantom-like qualities and furthers the idea that she was created for James alone, though in the Born from a Wish scenario, it is revealed that Maria knew about Laura before she met James and does not know why she knows Laura.
By the time James meets her, she already knows that he killed Mary. Maria decides to follow her "fate", and seems to keep reminding James of Mary's death, as Maria (an illusion of Mary) dies many times during the game.
She leads James in the right direction and gives him many subtle clues on where to go next. She asks him "Is this your only 'special place'?", and tells him about the Lakeview Hotel, saying "I'll bet it was."
Because Maria is an "illusion" of Mary and has her memories, she wants to keep Laura safe, and requests for James to look for her. She shares Mary's desire for James to love her, for example, in the hospital she asks what James would do if he couldn't find Mary.
She also knows James's name and says it many times, even though he never told her his name before. James never seems to notice that he never told Maria his name.
Some fans theorize that although Maria is created for James, she may in fact have been a real person prior and that Silent Hill "took her" to play on James's mind. This could be evidenced by the fact that Maria also sees the monsters in Silent Hill, although she herself has nothing to be exorcized, pointing out that her link to James may be what allows her to see the same monsters he does, rather than just Pyramid Head. She seems to have a decent memory of her job at Heaven's Night, although this could just be Silent Hill at work again.
- "What do I do now? Do I fight... and live? Or do those monsters get me? I don't have any reason to go on living, but... I'm scared to die. I'm so afraid of pain. Should I... run away? I want to find somebody. I don't like being alone. But... but is there anyone left alive?"
- "Do I look like your girlfriend?"
- "My name is Maria. I don't look like a, uh... ghost, do I?"
- "See? Feel how warm I am?"
- "Don't get so mad. I was just joking."
- "You were gonna just leave me? With all these monsters around? I'm all alone here. Everyone else is gone."
- "I look like... Mary... don't I? You loved her, right? Or maybe... you hated her."
- "James... wait a minute... I'm kind of tired. It's just a hangover..."
- "What if... what if you can't find Mary? What will you do?"
- "Anyway?! What do you mean "anyway"?! You don't sound very happy to see me! I was almost killed back there! Why didn't you try to save me?! All you care about is that dead wife of yours! I've never been so scared in my whole life! You couldn't care less about me... could you?"
- "Then stay with me! Don't ever leave me alone! You're supposed to take care of me!"
- "James, honey... did something happen to you...? After we got separated in that long hallway...? Are you confusing me with someone else...? You were always so forgetful...remember that time in the hotel?"
- "Don't you want to touch me?"
- "When will you ever stop making that mistake? Mary's dead. You killed her."
- "What?! You must be joking. But I can be yours! I'll be here for you forever. And I'll never yell at you, or make you feel bad! That's what you wanted! I'm different than Mary! How can you throw me away?!"
- "No! I won't let you! You deserve to die too, James!"
- There is a possibility Maria was visually designed based on Christina Aguilera's appearance at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards. Aguilera's middle name is also Maria; however, this is just a coincidence.
- There is persistent butterfly and moth symbolism surrounding Maria in the game. She has a butterfly tattoo on her abdomen, and in many cultures, butterflies represent rebirth, which is relevant to her being a new form of Mary (not unlike how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly). In the final boss fight, Mary/Maria attacks with a swarm of black moths, a symbol of death in some cultures.
- In the Lost Memories DVD, a photo of Laura and Maria sitting on a wall can be found.
- The gallows platform in the prison shows two executioners wearing triangle-shaped headgear holding spears, with a person in the middle hanged by a noose. This is likely foreshadowing of Maria being killed by the two Pyramid Heads.
- Maria is the first female playable character in the main series of Silent Hill. However, she is not the first female main character, who is Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3. Cybil Bennett is technically the first playable female, though only in a spin-off game, the Silent Hill: Play Novel.
- The name Maria is the Latin form of Mary, often used to refer to the Virgin Mary in traditional Latin songs and compositions.
- A hack in the game can allow Maria to accompany James throughout the rest of the game in the PC or PS2 version. Through a PS2 cheat system such as an Action Replay or Codebreaker, or by downloading a hacked PC save, the player can hack the Old Bronze Key in their inventory, allowing Maria and James to enter the Silent Hill Historical Society and skip the entire hospital level where Maria dies. 
- Another glitch in the game occurs within the hospital hallway where Pyramid Head is. Sometimes Pyramid Head will spawn in front of Maria. This is mostly useful in Hard Difficulty, as Pyramid Head will still march forward, ignoring Maria and making it impossible for her to die.
- In Silent Hill 3, Heather Mason finds a poster in Heaven's Night of a woman with long dark hair with "Return of Lady Maria!" on it. This could suggest that Maria's appearance was actually based on a dancer in Heaven's Night. In "The Making of Silent Hill 2", Takayoshi Sato, the CGI Creator of Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2, stated that Maria had bleached her hair from brunette to blonde and added pink tips.
- When inputting the Konami Code to make Douglas Cartland wear boxers in Silent Hill 3, Maria's sigh from the Dog ending is heard to confirm the code has been entered correctly.
|“||In the original scenario, the heroine also had an existence characterized by a double personality. The first personality is "Mary," so for the other, the name "Maria" is derived from that.||”|
- Love Psalm — Maria's theme that plays in Born from a Wish's credits
- Promise — Maria's theme that plays during the Maria ending